Angelia Ong from CalvinAyre.com interviewed Erik Voorhees and Roger Ver about the basics of Bitcoin
Angelia: Hi guys! This is Angelia Ong for CalvinAyre.com and here with me right now is Mr. Erik Voorhees and Mr. Roger Ver of BitInstant.com. Can you tell us more about Bitcoin?
Erik: Yeah, Bitcoin is both a payment system and it is a currency itself. Somewhat like Paypal is a payment system but not a currency and somewhat like the dollar is a currency but not a payment system. Bitcoin is both things. It allows people to send any amount of money from any person instantly, without a fee, to anywhere in the world without any restrictions whatsoever.
Angelia: Who do you think is an ideal Bitcoin user?
Roger: Anyone who has reason to send money to or from anyone else, anywhere in the world, whether it’s across the street or across the world. They can do it instantly with no fee and they can do it anonymously if they wanted to as well.[break][break]
Erik: Yeah, right now, it works really well for mainly online commerce, not so much real world stuff. But eventually people can use it at the café or restaurants everywhere.
Angelia: Who have been the early adopters for Bitcoin?
Roger: Probably a lot of computer nerds got interested to begin with but now it’s spreading to the general population. More and more people are finding it useful, especially with all the restrictions that credit card companies and Paypal have and limiting who you can send and receive money with. But with Bitcoin, there are no restrictions. There is no terms of service. Anybody can have a Bitcoin account in 30 seconds and send and receive money with anyone they want, anywhere in the world.
Erik: There are quite a lot of people who are upset with banks, upset with Papal and upset with the credit card companies. All of those people are very great candidates for early adopters.
Angelia: How long do you see it breaking beyond the adopters and making it to the mainstream?
Roger: I think we’re seeing that happen right now as we speak. Just last week, WordPress which is the 20th most popular website in the entire world is now accepting payments via Bitcoin on their website and I think that’s a real big milestone.
Erik: It’ll probably be over the next two years, so 2013 and 2014. By the end of 2014, I think, almost everyone will know what Bitcoin is.
Angelia: Can you please tell us what BitInstant.com is?
Erik: BitInstant.com is not Bitcoin. It is a company involved with Bitcoin just like Skype is not Voice-over-IP but it uses that technology. BitInstant uses Bitcoin technology. What we allow people to do is buy Bitcoins faster and more easily than they could otherwise. Before BitInstant was around, it would take you three to five days to wire your money from your bank account into a Bitcoin exchange. With BitInstant, you can do that in about 30 minutes. We speed the process up for people, make it easy.
Angelia: What is the biggest hurdle you guys have faced when it comes to getting people into Bitcoin? Is it education? Lack of places to spend? Or maybe converting it into cash?
Roger: Probably a little bit of all those. Right now the biggest problem that I would say is that people don’t even know what Bitcoin is and they haven’t heard about it yet but more and more people are starting to hear about it. More and more software developers are creating tools to make it easy for normal people to use Bitcoins. There are now smart phone apps for Android and iPhone. There are more and more websites coming online everyday that use Bitcoin. The Bitcoin ecosystem is really growing at a quick rate and it’s exciting to see all the new things that coming online every day.
Erik: Yeah, it was very difficult to use at first and a good parallel is the internet in general, right? When the internet was coming out in the early ‘90s or even the late ‘80s people didn’t understand how to use it. It took years for the infrastructure and the systems to be built. Netscape Navigator came out and suddenly anyone could use the internet very easily. We’re seeing that same process with Bitcoin. The technology is sound but companies and individuals are building useful, easy-to-use systems on top of that technology. And as those systems get built then normal people can start using it much more easily.
Angelia: What are you guys doing to educate people to know more about Bitcoin?
Erik: Well, to make it known to more people—
Roger: There’s a national radio campaign that’s on more than 100 radio stations across the U.S. daily. It advertises to hundreds of thousands of people, called FreeTalkLive.com, they’ve been advertising it for a number of months. There are a number of online websites. Another interesting tool is called FeedZeBirds.com and that allows anybody to pay anybody via Bitcoin to re-tweet whatever message they want. And so based on the number of followers you have on your Twitter account, you can go there right now today to Feed Ze Birds – with a Z-E, and re-tweet a message and receive some Bitcoins right now.
Erik: I think, most of Bitcoin’s advertising has been through word of mouth, from friends telling each other about it and through the media that it’s gotten because there’s no Bitcoin company, right? So there’s no central group to advertise it and promote it. It’s sort of a grassroots thing where everyone just learns about it and then they tell their friends and that takes a while.
Angelia: Thank you very much gentlemen. Again, this is Angelia Ong for CalvinAyre.com.